Part 1: Start out every line/phrase with "I remember" and see what emerges. They key is not to think about it too hard - just write. My "I remember" exercises tend to be a mix of my own memories and things that emerge from the worlds and characters I create. Feel free to write this … Continue reading I Remember… [writing exercise]
I've been thinking about someone I knew years ago, who - like me - was a writer. And I've been thinking about how she quit her job one day, and packed up her car and drove halfway to a new place, a place she thought she could really put her all into writing and perhaps … Continue reading Inspiration is Bullshit
So you've spend a lot of time writing and revising a story. You're getting to a point where it's in pretty good shape. Maybe you've had some beta readers look through all or part of it. Maybe you've workshopped it. Before you release it upon the world (or upon literary agents), consider pausing for a … Continue reading Sensitivity readings: An essential part of writing
One of the things that's been joyously freeing about my writing program is that we're given permission to do something important: Write badly. In order to create a sculpture, you have to start with a big block of clay, or a stone, or a chunk of wood. At first, you're just hacking pieces away and … Continue reading Write badly
The other week in class, my writing instructor said, "When you get rid of the explanation, the emotion really comes through." That hit me, because I was like...this is truth. This is a life lesson. Reveal something without directly saying it, and you make it much more powerful. Watch how others around you reveal things … Continue reading Delete the explanation
As a writer, when you're building a world and learning about your characters, you're thinking about a lot of things. Do you ever think about how your characters perceive the world? How they process information? I've been reading a book called The Error of Truth that discusses the difference between changing what one knows versus … Continue reading Gods or sinners
I had a day off, and spent it drafting an outline. I've never been one who was able to write to an outline. My stories like to go off on little weekend retreats without telling me then come back and start ordering me around with the pride and swagger of a newly hatched adolescent. Mostly … Continue reading Outline this.
As an independent editor/beta reader, I see a lot of writers fall into the message trap - they have something they want to say, something they feel is important, and they're very passionate about it. There's nothing inherently wrong with this - in fact, even if you're a pantser (vs a plotter), you should be … Continue reading A message is not a story